Emil Kocher, Swiss surgeon in the late 1800s, is known mostly for revolutionizing surgery of the thyroid. In his hands, the mortality rate of thyroid removal dropped from 50% to less than 1%. But tragedy soon followed triumph: before Kocher, no one could take out the thyroid gland. So no one asked if you should. The consequence of his surgical genius was the belated realization that the thyroid plays a crucial role in growth and development — much to the dismay of his young patients. This is the story of one man’s professional crisis, and how he met the challenge.